Distinguished Scholar Award in Environmental Studies

International Studies Association (2021)

Award that ‘recognizes outstanding scholars whose long history of excellent research and teaching has had substantial impact on fields associated with international relations and environmental issues [with] a long and distinguished career in both teaching and research, including a substantive publication record on international environmental issues and/or global environmental governance’.


World Academy of Art and Science

Elected Fellow of the Academy. The World Academy of Art and Science was established in 1960 as a non-official network of over 700 Fellows ‘chosen for eminence in art, the natural and social sciences, and the humanities’.


Ecological Society of America’s 2019 Innovations in Sustainability Science Award

For paper: Bennett, Elena, … Frank Biermann, et al. 2016. Bright spots: Seeds of a good Anthropocene. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.


European Research Council Advanced Grant (2017)

The Advanced Grant is the European Union’s most important science award, worth 2.5 million Euros.


Runner-up, Teaching Award ‘Best Teacher of the Year’ (2018)

Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University


Societal Impact Prize 2013 (senior category), VU University Amsterdam (2013)

Awarded for ‘internationally path-breaking research on global environmental policy’, including ‘pioneering conceptual work on earth system governance’ and standing as an ‘excellent researcher who belongs internationally to the top of his field’.


Runner-up, Societal Impact Prize 2012, VU University Amsterdam (2012)

One out of three finalists for the university Societal Impact Prize


Research Prize 2011 in Social Sciences, VU University Amsterdam (2012)

Awarded for ‘outstanding qualities as a top researcher’ and for ‘significant contributions to international research and political debates in the field of global environmental politics’


German UNESCO Commission (1999)

Nominated as the representative for Germany to the International Forum of Young Scientists at the 1999 UNESCO World Conference on Science


Joachim Tiburtius Dissertation Prize (1998)

Awarded by the Ministry of Science, Research and Education of the State of Berlin for the best dissertation of the Berlin universities.


Pre- and Postdoctoral Scholarships

Harvard University full-time postdoctoral scholarship (1998–1999)

German Academic Exchange Service postgraduate scholarship (1998–1999)

Academic Council of the United Nations System scholarship (1998)

State of Berlin PhD scholarship (1994–1996)

German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) (1993–1994)

Friedrich Ebert Foundation, Talented Student Scholarship (1991–1993)